Art by Yousef Amairi

Art by Yousef Amairi
the struggle continues

June 14, 2014

Dear CPUSA leadership, I have not paid much mind to your internal discussions for some time. However... Andrew Taylor, June 14 2004

Dear CPUSA leadership,

I have not spoken of your debates or paid much mind to your internal discussions for some time. After all, it has been some time since my decade in The USA as a Resident Alien. However a statement by one of your party leaders in recent story covering the CPUSA's  95th anniversary at its Chicago convention being held at The University of Illinois caught my eye .

From Chicago Tribune June 15, 2014 "Communist Party USA gathers in Chicago: Members celebrate 95th anniversary, look back on notable events" by Ron Grossman the Rev. Tim Yeager a CPUSA leader is quoted offering this mea culpa:

"Of course, the complete story of the run-up to World War II isn't something of which communists can be proud. In 1939, Stalin and Hitler became allies, forcing communists everywhere to abandon their anti-war campaign — until the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, two years later.

Those flip-flops still haunt American communists, noted Tim Yeager, who juggles three roles: United Auto Workers union organizer, Communist official and Episcopal priest.

"[my emphasis] Everyone in our movement is stained by what was done by the Soviet Union and American communists' failure to see Stalin for what he was," Yeager said. He added that despite those failings, communism has played a key, if unexpected, role in his life.",0,870542.story

Against the tendency to escape from socialist history represented by those illogical but inveterate former Leninists who would jump down The Rabbit Hole of History to avoid any connection with Lenin, Stalin, the USSR, The Peace Movment or the anti-colonial struggle, I offer this selection by Domenico Losurdo from his essay "Flight from History? The Communist Movement between Self-Criticism and Self-Contempt in 'Marxist Forum' (2000)
Materialism or idealism?

    The historical events introduced by the October Revolution
    have led to certain conclusions for many leftists that might serve
    as negative models. Very often the degeneration and the collapse
    of the USSR and the “socialist camp” are explained by tracing
    everything back to Stalin. This attitude is translatable into the
    sigh: Oh, if only Lenin had lived longer! What a terrible
    misfortune that his place was not taken by Trotsky or Bukharin.
    Too bad that the Bolshevik leadership did not understand how to
    follow the path Marx would have wanted the path of the
    “authentic” Marx as understood by one or another of the inflexible
    judges over the history of “real, existing socialism.” And if
    perchance one of them (like Rossana Rossanda) had held power
    instead of Stalin, we would not have had the return of the Czarist
    flag and the Duma to Moscow. Not at all, we would have the
    victory of the soviet system and the red flag over New York. If
    that analysis were correct, we would not only have to go back to
    Marx, but at least as far as Plato and his idealism. It really is hard
    to imagine a more radical liquidation of historical materialism.

    The objective circumstances are of no interest at all: the condition of
    Russia and its historical background; the class struggles
    domestically and internationally; power relationships in the areas
    of economics, politics, and the military, etc. Everything was the
    result of the crudeness, the brutality, the will to power, the
    paranoia in any case, the character of a single personality. Ironically,
    it is just this type of explanation that reproduces the
    fundamental errors of Stalinism. These are reproduced even to a
    greater degree, because the objectively existing contradictions
    are forgotten and a weak and prejudicial recourse is made to the
    concept of “betrayal.” Mind you, not to a specific act, but rather
    to almost seventy years of history regarded as one long uninterrupted “betrayal”
    of Communist ideals.

    All of this committed by Stalin, who is thus to be delivered over to the execution     
    squad of the historians,  or better yet, to the journalists and ideologues.
    From this type of analysis sometimes an entire philosophy of
    history is hammered together. In the period around 1968, a book
    was circulated fairly widely whose very title, Proletarians without Revolution
    (Carria 1966), was thought to deliver the key to
    understanding universal history. Always inspired by the most
    noble Communist sentiments, the masses were regularly
    betrayed by their leaders and the bureaucrats. And this is also
    paradoxical because what was intended to be a complaint of the
    masses against the leaders and bureaucrats converts abruptly into
    an indictment against the masses. The analysis reveals the
    masses to be completely irredeemable simpletons who are
    entirely unable to comprehend their own interests at decisive
    moments. They long to consign their fate to swashbucklers. And
    here once again we see an overarching idealism; deception and
    betrayal by swashbucklers is supposed to explain all of world

    Occasionally there are slight variations of this account. Here
    one contrasts the initial liveliness, beauty, and abundance of
    debate in the soviets with the monotony of the bureaucratic and
    autocratic apparatus that takes over. Again we give the traitors,
    gravediggers, and killers of the soviets the merry chase. People
    who reason this way (or who sigh this way) forget that historical
    upheavals and revolutions are generally accompanied by a transition 
    from poetry to prose."

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